When we were children the thought of monsters under the bed would keep us from sleeping, but as adults, our sleepless nights are now influenced by bigger, scarier monsters over which we have even less control – hackers and identity thieves.
In evaluating the data from the 2018 Unisys Security Index™, which we have just released today, the 2018 Unisys Security Index results show that security concerns remain rampant around the world – in fact, concerns globally among individuals are high and holding.
It should come as no surprise that the highest security concerns are those where people feel they may have the least amount of personal control – the monsters we can’t see – Identity Theft and Bankcard Fraud. Identity Theft continues to rank at the top out of the eight security threats measured by the index, with more than two-thirds of those surveyed (68 percent) seriously concerned (i.e., “extremely” or “very” concerned). In fact, it ranks as one of the top two concerns in each of the 13 countries we surveyed. Bankcard Fraud also remains one of the top two security concerns globally, as well as in nine out of the 13 countries surveyed, with two-thirds of global consumers (66 percent) seriously concerned about it.
The research also showcased some very interesting regional differences. In the U.S., the alleged election hacking scandal continues to be a leading and controversial issue. Eighty-six percent of U.S. consumers have some level of concern that their election voting system can be compromised by outside actors. But the U.S. is not alone in its vulnerability to foreign interference in elections. Europe has been preparing for attacks on its election systems, along with the potential manipulation of social media sites and threats to release stolen and inflammatory documents. More than half (57 percent) of UK consumers believe social media and so-called “fake news” could be used to influence the outcome of their country’s general elections. Security concerns saw a slight easing in the majority (62 percent) of countries in 2018, most notably in the Netherlands and New Zealand. But these decreases have been offset by large increases in concern in Latin America, most notably in Colombia and Argentina, which both saw double-digit growth.
Globally, people surveyed are more concerned about losing their identities or Bankcard Fraud than they are about possible physical harm related to Disasters/Epidemics (53 percent seriously concerned) or Personal Safety (50 percent seriously concerned). Mat Newfield, Chief Information Security Officer, says: “I feel more comfortable going to grocery store A than B, even though it may be farther away, for my own personal safety. You don’t get that online…there really is no safe [place] for a lot of people who are not ‘in the know’ online.”
The results raise consumers issues and act as a third-party-validated measure of their safety and security concerns. Please take a few moments and check out our new 2018 Unisys Security Index site. From this site, you can access survey results, view subject matter expert videos and learn from data that is both global and country-specific from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, the UK and the U.S.
There may always be monsters, but it’s how we prepare that can change if they keep us up, or move onto someone who wasn’t as prepared. Since “safe online” doesn’t exist anymore, for consumers, businesses or governments, simple back–to-basics such as good online hygiene, combined with leading-edge security solutions, can anticipate and prevent many of the cybersecurity opportunities that criminals have to steal the good name, money and private data of consumers around the world.